Best Airlines to Work for as a Flight Attendant in the US

best airlines for flight attendant towork for

In the U.S. airline industry, there are so many companies to choose from when you start your career as a Flight Attendant. In a world based on seniority, it is imperative to take your time and consider which one is going to be the best for you.

Do you want long layovers, productive trips where you can do your job, have short layovers, and head home?

Do you want a company that pays the highest in the industry?

Do you want to move, or are you determined to stay where you are located; does the airline you want to apply for have a base where you live?

There are so many questions to ask yourself before you even apply for the job you are hoping to get. Be diligent. This could impact your life for many years to come. This article will try to help you with some of these questions.

Highest Pay

At the end of the day, what you make money-wise is important. You want to make sure that you are not only choosing an airline that is bringing in a significant amount of money, especially for job security but a company that returns that money to their employees.

Look at pay scales, they can very much inform you of the culture at the airline.

You have to look at not only the starting pay, but what their cap pay is as well. The longer you are with a company, the more money you will make.

The difference between airlines can be significant. Especially when it comes to how they treat their employees.

My top three I would choose in the category are:

1) Southwest Airlines

If you are in the industry, you know that Southwest has a great reputation for truly taking care of their employees.

Not only are they one of the top, if not the top, paid in the industry, but they are constantly looking for new ways to show their employees that they are appreciated.

It has really created a culture of trust over there, with everyone I know extremely happy with the decision they made.

The average made here is around 65,000$ a year.

Of course, this depends on how many hours you are flying, and what payscale you are on, based on your seniority.

2) Delta Airlines

Delta is considered one of the top three legacy carriers in the United States, with this status, also comes money. They are known to pay their Flight Attendants extremely well, along with profit-sharing that is probably the best in the industry.

However, you do have to take into consideration the fact that they do not have a union.

This can be a huge determining factor when it comes to applying for this airline.

The average Flight Attendant is making around $57,000 at this airline, but again, you have to factor their entire pay scale, how much you are flying, and how long you have been with the company.

Read more: Delta Airlines Flight Attendant Salary

3) United Airlines

United is another legacy carrier in the United States and is known for its prestige.

With that usually comes a well-paid job, with a very fruitful career.

United also has a union, which for many can be a deciding factor.

The median income for a United Flight Attendant is around $55,000.

This again can be impacted based on which pay scale you are on, how much you fly, if you are mainly flying domestic routes, or international, per diem rates, etc.

That goes with any of the airlines. United is one that will pay nicely, if you choose them.

Layovers

layovers
Who wouldn’t dream about a layover in Paris

For someone just starting in the industry, layovers can be an extremely important piece of the puzzle.

Most people make this job their career for that exact purpose; they want to see the world. You really need to ask around and see which airlines fit your travel destinations of choice.

Do you want long domestic layovers, international layovers, mainly Europe, South America, etc?

Just know that many airlines do have a lot of international flying, but they are usually held by the most senior Flight Attendants at the airline.

You might not get the layover you truly want, for years! Take this into consideration as well.

My top three are:

1) Frontier Airlines

If you really want to have some amazing layovers, primarily domestic and Mexico, you will absolutely love this airline.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much of the United States you will see working for this airline.

Having a 24-hour layover in Washington D.C., Las Vegas, New Orleans, Cancun, Indianapolis, etc. Some destinations I would have never imagined I would fall in love with so passionately.

This airline will truly give you the opportunity to not only go to these locations but to truly experience them as well.

It makes a huge difference when you can not only get paid to fly but to really reap the benefits as well.

I would highly, highly suggest this airline to anyone who is really looking for long layovers.

2) United Airlines

If you’re looking for an airline that does a lot of international flying, United might just be your best option.

They have the biggest international network, out of the three legacy carriers, and truly go all over the world.

Their layovers might not always be as long as the airline I previously talked about, but the odds of you getting the opportunity to see places you’ve never thought you would be able to experience is truly going to be a reality.

Especially as you gain more seniority, and can hold the flying you really want.

3) American Airlines

American can be hit, or miss, on this subject.

You can get amazing layovers, in some of the best places, but you’re not guaranteed to get a long layover.

Example: you could get a flight to Shanghai, China. Sounds amazing right? However, you could be working a fourteen-hour flight, and then only get twenty- four hours in the country.

Most of the international flying, you are truly having to work for that layover.

However, with an airline such as American, you get a well- rounded amount of flying, both international and domestic.

Having Fun/Good Work Environment

Hands down, I would say the airlines that have the most fun, and the best work environment are the low-cost carriers.

They seem to attract a lot of the younger age group, and really just become a family.

A family who creates an environment where you all spend time with one another, this also goes with having a great relationship with the pilots. They really make it feel like you are a team.

1) Frontier Airlines

I would say that Frontier, hands down, has one of the best cultures for having fun & a good work environment put together.

If you’re looking for an environment where the crews will go out together, long layovers, fly with the same people a lot of the time, a family dynamic, etc. Then this is the airline for you!

2) Southwest Airlines

Southwest also has the same culture. The crews really spend time together when they have layovers, they have fun on the flights while working, family bonds, etc.

I haven’t heard anyone at this airline speak badly about the culture.

This airline seems to have almost all the dynamics anyone could really want.

3) Spirit Airlines

Like Frontier, this airline seems to attract a lot of the younger age group, which in turn usually means more fun.

A lot of the legacy carriers can have fun as well, but so many of the senior Flight Attendants have been doing this for years, and just want to relax.

Younger employees mean that in most regards this is their first airline, they want to experience as much as they can.

Great environment to get people to do things with you, if you don’t like going on your own!

Travel Benefits

travel benefits
Most flight attendants love traveling

Hello travel benefits! One of the best perks of the job.

You can utilize these to really grant you access to the world. So, choose wisely when you pick an airline, you want one that has good partnerships with other airlines around the globe. This will only help you in the long run.

1) United Airlines

2) Delta Airlines

3) American Airlines

I am choosing all of the legacy carriers simply because they have the biggest networks.

Their partnerships with other airlines are second to none, not to mention that you can take your own airline almost anywhere.

This really cuts down the cost of tickets, even though they are really cheap no matter what airline you really choose.

The legacies just make it easier to non-rev (flying on very cheap tickets) anywhere you really want.

Not to mention, you can fly on each other. If I work for United, I can also non-rev on Delta & American if I would like. They include each other in their networks, which a lot of other carriers don’t have access to.

Best Work/Life Balance

All I can say for this piece, is really look at: the bases each carrier has, how long people are sitting on reserve for, can you get turns-where you can go and come back the same day, what do the trip sequences usually look like, do they have a reserve rotation, will I have to commute, etc.

Everything is going to be subjective based on what you personally are looking for.

1) Spirit Airlines

I chose Spirit for the simple fact that they have the shortest reserve time.

Essentially saying that after a really short period of time, you can know exactly what you are flying every month.

Most legacy carriers, you will be on reserve for years! Trust me, reserve is horrible.

2) Frontier Airlines

Another low-cost carrier with short reserve time.

Being on reserve you only know when you are good to the company, you don’t know what you will be flying.

This can be extremely hard for anyone with a family. Ask yourself, is it worth it to go to an airline where you can be pulled onto reserve for years.

You might make a little less than the legacy carriers, but you will have a better balance to your life.

3) Southwest Airlines

Another airline that makes it easier for their employees to have a good balance.

They treat their employees extremely well, something as simple as getting them better food/alcohol discounts when they are on the road.

Everything matters. Take your time.

Best Schedules

This one is also extremely subjective. It really just depends on what you are personally looking for.

High time trips?

Turns (go somewhere and come back the same day)?

A higher-amount of two-day trips?

Less legs (flights) in a day?

Red-eye flights (leave at night and arrive the next morning)?

It really just depends on what you are looking for.

1) Southwest Airlines

They probably fly the most legs (flights) in a day, but they do have the ability to drop down to zero flying hours if they wish.

This offers a lot of flexibility. 

2) Frontier Airlines

A well-rounded flying schedule, with the ability to really drop what you want.

They offer anywhere from turns, two-day trips, three-day trips, high time flying, low time flying, etc.

3) Spirit Airlines

They offer exactly what the other two airlines offer.

I am choosing to pick these airlines really based on the fact that they have short reserve times.

Once you get a line, it really opens you up to having whatever schedule you really want. The possibilities really open from there.

On the same topic: What do Flight Attendant Schedule Look Like

The Company Itself

Picking an airline to work for, can be extremely hard.

There are so many pieces that go into what will truly make you happy and have a long and fruitful career.

However, really looking at the company itself, as a whole, is something that should be placed at the forefront.

You want a company that is not only going to treat its customers well, sustainability, but their employees as well.

When you have a culture based on complaining about the company all the time, it really puts a negative spin on your job. Go somewhere where the people are happy!

1) Southwest Airlines 

As I’ve said previously, Southwest just has an extremely good reputation.

They are truly known across the industry as really taking care of their employees. They really go above and beyond to ensure their people are taken care of.

2) Delta Airlines

If you’re looking for sustainability, Delta is one of the best airlines you could work for.

Not only do they rank at the top for customer service, but they pay extremely well, have a great employee package, and the best profit sharing in the industry.

3) United Airlines

Pay scale, international routes, employee benefits, etc.

Career Growth Opportunities

Honestly, this just depends on what you want to do with your career.

Being a Flight Attendant doesn’t really have much upward growth.

You can become a Purser, or a Flight Service Manager, but you don’t have many options.

Take this into consideration when you look into this career. You will primarily be doing the same things, for the duration of your career.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Flight Attendant is a huge deal.

Not in the sense that the job is that much different across the board because it isn’t, but which airline you choose to build a career with, means everything.

Seniority is what this industry is built on, so choose wisely.

Each one of us has our own wants, and needs. Take into consideration all avenues and figure out what’s truly important to you. Once you do this, it will lead you to the best airline for you specifically.

After that, start applying! This is a phenomenal career when you are with the right company.

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